Rating England

No longer number one in the world, Sky Sports' Pete Gill looks at how England's players fared in the series defeat to South Africa and rates their performances in the three Tests...

Last Updated: 21/08/12 12:26pm

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How each of the England players fared in the series defeat to South Africa...

Andrew Strauss: A top score of 37 and an average of 18 for the series tells its own tale. The turmoil that enveloped the England captain after Headingley may have played a part in the brainfade of his second innings dismissal at Lord's - padding up to a straight ball - but it is only the Pietersen furore which is keeping Strauss' lack of runs out of the headlines after England's loss of prestige and premier position. 3

Alastair Cook: An opening-day century at the Oval and then just 80 runs in five innings, Cook's series was a feast followed by a famine. Apparent reoccurrence of a technical shortcoming, exposed by Vernon Philander at both Headingley and Lord's, in which the England opener falls over to the off-side and becomes vulnerable to a lbw dismissal, was particularly disconcerting. 5

ICC TEST RANKINGS

  • 1. South Africa - 120
  • 2. England - 117
  • 3. Australia - 116
  • 4. Pakistan - 109
  • 5. India - 104
  • 6. Sri Lanka - 98

Jonathan Trott: Offered resistance in each of the three Tests but was unable to supply the sort of heavy run-scoring that counterpart Hashim Amla delivered for the Proteas or, less pertinently, the useful fifth-bowler wickets of the incomparable Jacques Kallis. One way or another, England needed more. 5

Kevin Pietersen: Where to start? The scattergun approach at the Oval, the brilliance of Headingley, or the deterioration of his relationship with the rest of the England team which may result in his permanent international exile? Only Pietersen would bat with such abandon of responsibility, only Pietersen would have countered Morne Morkel with baseball-style bashes at Headingley when three fielders were positioned on the boundary in case he accepted the challenge, and only Pietersen would now find himself embroiled in such a sorry mess. The first question for England is whether they are prepared to take the rough with the smooth; the second is whether they can return to the summit of test cricket without their number one batsman. 7

James Taylor: The jury's out. With a decent debut knock followed by a low score and a run-out, there's no reason yet to argue that Taylor does not have the making of a test batsman. But neither is there any reason to suppose he is an immediate solution to the Pietersen problem. 4

Ian Bell: A similar series to Trott with the credit of two half-centuries offset by the absence of a pivotal, match-altering innings. A modest disappointment this summer, it's the next 18 months which will decide whether Bell will be remembered as a great batsman or just a very good one. 5

Jonny Bairstow: The lone success story of the series. Banished the Kemar Roach-induced doubts about his back-foot technique with two outstanding fifties at Lord's. A wonderfully crisp strokemaker, he has the potential - and, judging by his response to the hostility of Morkel and Dale Steyn, the character - to be Pietersen's long-term successor in England's middle order. 8

Ravi Bopara: Didn't take his opportunity at the Oval even before dropping out of the Headingley Test due to personal reasons. Now behind both Taylor and Bairstow in a packed queue. 3

"In the context of the third Test, the drops off Amla and De Villiers were absolutely key. In a tight contest those mistakes are magnified and more important. Anderson's was a very simple catch; Prior's was more difficult, but having made the ground, and given that he's an excellent wicketkeeper, he'll be disappointed"
Sky Sports' Mike Atherton Quotes of the week

Matthew Prior: Almost wrestled the series back to parity with a knock of unbridled optimism at Lord's, but the 'what if?' which will dog Prior throughout the coming weeks will be his failure to cling on to the difficult-but-makeable chance offered by Amla on Saturday afternoon. If only Prior had held on, England would very possibly have levelled the series. 6

Tim Bresnan: Has he lost his nip after undergoing elbow surgery? After failing to deliver with either bat or bowl before being dropped for Lord's, Bresnan's Test future looks uncertain. 3

Stuart Broad: Out-Broaded by Philander to critical effect. While the stats say that he was England's most incisive bowler with 11 wickets, the speed-gun suggests that Broad has stagnated and lost his zest. Needs to rediscover several yards of pace if he is not to suffer in India. 5

Graeme Swann: Ought not to have been omitted at Leeds, but failed to make that error of selection glaringly obvious at either of the two London venues. Ended the series with fewer wickets than Imran Tahir with Swann's four dismissals costing a hundred runs each. 4

Steven Finn: England's bowler of the future. Forget about the number of runs he goes for, just count the wickets he'll take. 7

James Anderson: Deserved far more than the nine wickets he took with his bowling only below-par due to a lack of fair fortune. Loses a couple of marks, however, for the un-Anderson number of catches he spilled at both Headingley and Lord's. The dolly he dropped on Sunday morning was arguably just as costly as Prior's Alma miss. 5

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